Monday, September 8, 2014

New Statistics on Chicago Area Foreclosure Starts

Throughout the housing crisis, Illinois ranked among the top states in the nation for its total number of foreclosures.  Indeed, many neighborhoods saw housing prices decline rapidly with the rise of abandoned properties and hundreds of families that couldn’t make monthly mortgage payments.  Yet it looks like the Chicago area has reached new levels of recovery, according to a recent article in
Specifically, based on data gathered by the Woodstock Institute and released earlier this month, “the number of foreclosure filings in a six-county region in Illinois dropped by nearly 38 percent from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014.”  The six counties included McHenry, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Cook, and Will.  What does this mean in terms of financial recovery? The foreclosure starts are at the lowest level seen since 2007—in other words, the new data suggests that foreclosure starts have returned to a pre-recession level.
Fewer Foreclosures in Chicago?
If foreclosure filings have finally reached a pre-recession low, does this mean that fewer foreclosures are happening?  Foreclosure filings, which are also known as foreclosure starts, “are the first step toward foreclosure,” the article explains.  This means that fewer homes are actually going into foreclosure.  However, the drop in foreclosure filings doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer foreclosure auctions are taking place.
Different from foreclosure filings, which are the first stage in foreclosure process, foreclosure auctions are the final stage in the foreclosure process.  And foreclosure auctions have actually shown “a less drastic year-over-year decline.”  In other words, foreclosure auctions haven’t reached the same pre-recession low.    
The data from the Woodstock Institute about foreclosure starts in the six-county region looked like this:
·      22,342 foreclosure filings during the first half of 2013
·      13,916 foreclosure filings during the first half of 2014
·      Drop of 37.7 percent from 2013 to 2014
The Woodstock Institute reported the following information about foreclosure auctions in the six-county region:
·      16,332 foreclosure auctions in the first half of 2013
·      13,602 foreclosure auctions in the first half of 2014
·      Drop of 16.7 percent from 2013 to 2014
Adjusting for the Aftermath of the Foreclosure Crisis
The decline in both foreclosure starts and foreclosure auctions is a good sign for Chicago.  But will government officials need to adjust plans for recovery in light of these numbers?  According to Spencer Cowan, the vice president of the Woodstock Institute, “the decreasing number of new properties entering the foreclosure pipeline means policymakers will need to adjust the tools they are using to address the foreclosure crisis and its aftermath.”
What kinds of issues will policymakers need to address?  According to Cowan, “there are still thousands of homeowners entering the foreclosure process who will need guidance on how to avoid losing their homes whenever possible,” along with “tens of thousands more who lost their homes and who are struggling to rebuild their lives.”
Indeed, the foreclosure crisis continues to impact many Chicago-area residents despite the fact that foreclosure numbers have fallen.  If you have questions about foreclosure in Oak Park and throughout Illinois, contact the experienced consumer protection attorneys at the Emerson Law Firm.
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